Saturday, January 29, 2011
Legal research instruction in law school is out of touch with practitioners when it comes to Wexis alternatives
That's the thrust of this post from the Law Librarian Blog describing the experience of Laura K. Justiss (!) as she transitioned from law firm librarian to law library academic:
I was naively surprised to learn that most law students had little, if any, awareness of the electronic services other than Lexis and Westlaw routinely used by practicing attorneys. Of the alternative research databases I had used in my former life as a law firm librarian, only PACER was available in the law school in 2000. There were no court docket services for state courts, such as CourtLink or CourtExpresss; no financial or business research databases, such as Live EDGAR or Dun & Bradsteet; no public record databases (other than those available on Lexis or Westlaw); and no intellectual property, engineering or technology research databases such as Dialog. Thus students seldom had the opportunity to learn the existence of such alternatives, let alone why or how a lawyer might use them in practice.
Ouch. But there's a resource available to those trying to help students become more practice-ready with respect to legal research skills. Ms. Justiss has published a survey that identifies the alternatives to Wexis used by law firms and ranks them by subscription frequency. Read the full survey results here.